Real champions inspire us because we know they give everything to make a difference. Through this column, we are helping make known real champions in the lives of children and youth. At NCUST, we are thankful for all the many equity champions who are, each day, changing lives, changing schools, and changing communities.
Both a love for working with children and her own childhood observations of both poor and effective teaching influenced Sonia Escobar to pursue a career in education. Escobar currently teaches a combination class of fourth and fifth graders at Silver Wing Elementary in the Chula Vista Elementary School District near San Diego. She and her colleagues are proud recipients of last year’s NCUST America’s Best Urban Schools Award.
Escobar has collected a handful of degrees and credentials, including an Associate’s degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree, a GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) certificate, and most recently a Masters in teaching from San Diego State University. These credentials are evidence of her dedication to and passion for serving children well. She can’t imagine working as anything other than a teacher. Escobar enjoys seeing the progress of her students, watching and supporting their growth, and building strong relationships with each individual child. She emphasizes the importance of taking the time to get to know each student. She explained, “Understanding the needs and wants of every child, as well as their unique personalities and abilities, creates a healthy connection and level of trust between me and my students.”
Ultimately, Mrs. Escobar believes that teaching success is connected to convincing students that you care for them as individuals. Escobar believes this applies not only to the students in her classroom, but to all children at Silver Wing Elementary. She explained, “At Silver Wing, our team is dedicated to creating a strong school-wide community. This community values forming individual relationships in and outside of the classroom, as well as being kind and respectful to everyone.”
Mrs. Escobar also credits Silver Wing’s impressive academic achievements to their strong instructional leadership team. The team focuses on collaboration and discussion, sharing new materials, and sifting through extensive research and data, especially research that might inform how Silver Wing educators can better meet the needs of their English learners or other diverse groups of students. Escobar says that educators have to be willing to work together to try new strategies and have tough conversations when necessary. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to get comfortable with strategies that aren’t working for certain groups of students. Instead, she suggests that educators should nurture a little discomfort with their teaching because they’re always striving to help their students learn new concepts with deeper levels of understanding. In the months to come, Escobar hopes to continue building strong relationships with her students and the Silver Wing community. She wants children to enjoy returning to in-person learning, where they can write, read, and problem solve in a traditional classroom environment.
-Sarah Van Hoose
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